Yeshiva.org.il - The Torah World Gateway
Beit Midrash Series Parashat Hashavua

A Life With Fear of Heaven

“Now Israel, what does Hashem, your G-d, ask of you: just to fear Hashem …” (Devarim 10:12). Chazal famously asked about the strange language of “just” considering that proper fear of Heaven is not so simple to attain (Berachot 33b). The gemara answers that for Moshe it was a simple thing, to which many ask that it does not seem relevant, as the commandment was said to all of Israel. The gemara also teaches us that “all is in the hands of Hashem except for yirat shamayim” (fear of Heaven). According to this, how can we pray (in Birkat Hachodesh): “Give us life that has within it fear of Heaven and fear of sin”? If it is up to us and not Him, how can we ask Hashem for the “gift” of yirat shamayim?
91
Click to dedicate this lesson
"Now Israel, what does Hashem, your G-d, ask of you: just to fear Hashem …" (Devarim 10:12). Chazal famously asked about the strange language of "just" considering that proper fear of Heaven is not so simple to attain (Berachot 33b). The gemara answers that for Moshe it was a simple thing, to which many ask that it does not seem relevant, as the commandment was said to all of Israel.
The gemara also teaches us that "all is in the hands of Hashem except for yirat shamayim" (fear of Heaven). According to this, how can we pray (in Birkat Hachodesh): "Give us life that has within it fear of Heaven and fear of sin"? If it is up to us and not Him, how can we ask Hashem for the "gift" of yirat shamayim?
Within Moshe’s summary of the fundamentals of Judaism, fear and love of Hashem, he reviews the events that transpired for the nation. In this context, he commanded the people to remember and forbids them to forget. Furthermore, before conquering the Land, they are commanded not to question their ability to do so (Devarim 7:17) and, after successful conquest, not to congratulate themselves for the success (ibid. 8:17). The antidote to both is to remember what Hashem has done in Jewish history. Forgetting is dangerous; one who remembers believes. He is not afraid of the future and does not believe that he is responsible for his own successes.
It is important to remember past history at a time that Hashem "hides His face." One should remember the hard times and realize that Hashem does not remove His providence, and when there is a need for a miracle, He provides it.
Based on the above, it was not difficult in the miraculous times of Moshe to have fear of Hashem. Just a little bit of remembering should have been enough to give one trust in Hashem and fear of Him. At times when the people do not experience such miracles as existed in Moshe’s time, it is no simple matter to pronounce, "All of this came to us and we did not forget You, and we did not betray Your covenant" (Tehillim 44:18).
Asking for "life that has in it yirat shamayim" is a request for a life in which Divine Providence is clear, so that it will be easier to have yirat shamayim. It is a request that we will not be tested with situations in which the wicked have the upper hand and it is so difficult to find an explanation that fits with a proper outlook. That is an example of life that does not [lend itself to] yirat shamayim.
This year (5708=1947/8) we experienced what Chazal call "meireishit hashana" – a year that is poor in its beginning and rich in its end (Rosh Hashana 16b). In the beginning of the year, we were like poor people asking, "How can we succeed?" Due to a wonderful miracle, we can declare that Hashem gave us "life that has in it yirat shamayim." We just have to remember the miracles and thus "you shall remember that Hashem is the One who gave you strength to make attainments" (Devarim 8:18). Then it will be easier to have yirat shamayim.
More on the topic of Parashat Hashavua
Ask a Question

It is not possible to send messages to the Rabbis through replies system.

את המידע הדפסתי באמצעות אתר yeshiva.org.il